The Happy Clapper

The_Happy_Clapper_2_WEBSITE1 - 13 March 2011

He’s saved – are you?

Back by popular demand, Aaron McIlroy’s The Happy Clapper returns to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre for a brief season, following its premiere run at the Sneddon last November.  Co-written and directed by Patrick Kenny, the show poses the question: What are people’s perceptions of Biblical characters? Are they Charlton Heston, coming down a mountain in a dodgy outfit? The intervention of the media has long played a role in skewing people’s perceptions of Christianity, says Durban actor Aaron McIlroy, who cites movies such as Steven Spielberg’s The Prince of Egypt, and a host of others, as creating a glossy but fictitious perception of the people who populate the Bible.

“The Bible is full of many of the greatest stories ever told. Often enough they have been told badly, so I thought: why don’t I have a shot at telling them badly too?” quips the popular entertainer.

McIlroy’s latest show, benignly entitled The Happy Clapper, speaks alike to those who follow other beliefs, as it does to members of the Christian faith, offering a broad scope of perspectives that aim to enlighten and entertain while treating religious matters in a robust if sometimes tongue-in-cheek light.
“We need to lighten up, and not be so judgemental in dealing with our fellow humans,” says McIlroy. “We can do this by bringing a sense of integrity to our dealings with each other, while at the same time looking at the subject matter that preoccupies us in our worship.”

“We think we are ‘in the know’, while often we are actually clueless.. There is so much more than we think there is to gaining a true depth of knowledge. Seen from the outside, there is a stigma attached to being a so-called ‘Reborn Christian’.. But how weird is it, actually?”

The Happy Clapper sets out to defuse the myths surrounding charismatic Christians. The first half of the show opens with a run through the Old Testament, courtesy of Mr McIlroy donning the persona of a well-honed Rabbi who is on home turf, sharing elements of his own personal history, so to speak. Following this, the actor morphs into Bluff inhabitant, Gary van Vuuren, who’s comfortable he’s a fundi at unlocking all matters pertaining to the New Testament. Trying to put across a complex concept such as The Trinity, he assures us ‘it’s more than just a girl’s name’.

“Gary’s the perfect example of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread,” says McIlroy. “Only, he cracks it more often than he knows.. Just when you think he’s heading for the rocks, he nails it right in the centre.”

After interval, McIlroy’s ubiquitous alter ego, the ever-popular Veejay, surfaces to offer a guiding hand on how to negotiate your way around the potential hazards of traversing the evangelical Christian world. In his inimitable fashion, Veejay deals with the application of Christianity. As ever, he keeps things really grounded, commenting on those critical taboos that preoccupy charismatic Christians: Sex, Booze and Money.

In a nutshell, The Happy Clapper aims to share with the broader theatre-going community what Christians believe and why, through invigorating doses of comedy. “We’re not saying it is simple, but rather is it real, is it worth considering?” says McIlroy.

Tickets at R95 per person can be booked through Computicket on 083 915 8000. Block booking discounts are available.